I spend a lot of time planning. The beginning and end of every day, every week, every month, every year. Sometimes written on the inside of my hand, often times written on yellow legal note pads (thanks, Dennis Taylor). In fact as I type today, I have a running list of all the things I need to accomplish to get little guy to middle school tomorrow.
Wait... middle school?!
I have a lot of friends just starting out. Babies galore around me right now. In fact, I have three coworkers preggers and due any minute. I brag to anyone that will listen that I only have 6 years left. SIX. Out the door, for sale sign in the yard, laying on a beach eternally.
When time sits still I see it so differently. It always amazes me how I can feel one way and then take a 180 the next. Hubs would barb that is a "woman thing". Personally, I think it is a human thing. When the busyness subsides and we contemplate quietly it's amazing what comes into clarity.
Little guy hits his teens in a month. He still can't always remember to wear deodorant but somehow still has friends. I refer to him as an independent codependent most days. He is silently strong just like his dad and incredibly passionate just like me. Even so, I fear the next two years. Kids change in middle school... immensely. I can't even type what I was like in middle school. I'm surprised my mom didn't leave me in a hot car all day on purpose.
So in the spirit of planning, I've made a list for my little guy. Because really, how can anyone survive without a list?
1. Just laugh.
When you drop your crap in the hallway in front of the cool kids in school, start laughing. When you fling food off your fork in the lunchroom, laugh. When you have tried to get your locker open a hundred times and still can't get it, start laughing hysterically. Self deprecation is not only humbling, it lightens everyone elses response to what has just happened. And let's face it... everyone is a dork at 13. Get them all to laugh with you. It will make the event totally harmless.
2. Don't over analyze.
Everything around you is happening in moments. Each moment is just that... a snapshot of time that will most likely not even be remembered. As an adult, I have a few memories of special events but the day to day stuff is completely wiped clean of memory. It gets replaced with performance evaluations, grocery lists, Christmas planning. Trust me on this one- there is no need to over analyze every single moment. Roll with them, laugh and let them go. Everyone else will too.
3. Stay true.
You may not know what you want to do when you grow up, what college you want to attend or how many kids (if any) you want to have. But you do know YOU. You know what is right and what is wrong. You know how you and everyone else should be treated. You know that everyone deserves respect but must also illustrate they have earned respect.
4. Focus on the BIG picture.
School is just that - an education. Sure, it's a giant cesspool of social anxiety. Nonetheless, you actually go there for one specific purpose... to learn. Remember that, when your friends are getting sucked into arguments about girls. Remember what you have been given - the conduit to an amazing future. If you can stay the course and keep that focus in mind, your future will be so bright.
5. Just WAIT.
Since I brought it up... girls can WAIT. Seriously. The next few years can be the most fun times of your life, with parties, dances and football games. Engage and have fun without commitment. In simplest terms - if you can't remember to put on your deodorant then you certainly don't need to be "falling in love". You will have SO much time for that after you finish your education and begin your life.
6. Be patient.
I know you want to go to college right now. You have been a planner for as long as I can remember and your dreams are so lofty. Keep those dreams in your sight. They are completely attainable and you can do whatever you want in this life. But try to slow down just a little bit. Spend some time in the NOW. The next will come when it's time.
7. Make good choices.
In every moment, you will have a decision to make. This way or that. Up or down. Eat this or not. Go with them or stay. Every moment. It may feel overwhelming at times. Refer back to #3... be true. You know who you are. You know what is right. Don't get sucked into things you don't want. You forge your path, no one else. Friends can't "make" you do things you don't want to do, just like they can't make you "feel" a certain way without your consent.
8. Make mistakes.
Sometimes you will cross a path and turn the wrong way. You will make mistakes, I promise you. When you do, forgive yourself. Be accountable and take the consequences. But know this: two people are standing on either side of you at all times. We will support you, no matter what. We will always be the first to forgive you and help you move forward. Although sometimes it may be painful, mistakes are the very best way to learn just how you want to live your life.
9. Ask for help.
This is a biggie. I know as a boy you aren't supposed to ask for help. Honestly son, it is the most important thing you can learn to do in life. You won't always have the answers. You won't always know what you should do. When you come to that crossroads, ask for help. Seek guidance from those you trust and respect. They will guide you through the hard stuff and you will appreciate them even more. Remember - even Pooh asks for help when he needs it. It's not a weakness, it's a sign of strength.
10. BE HAPPY!
Don't fall into the drama of girls, the politics of sports or the gossip train. Rise above all of that nonsense and know in your heart that it just weighs people down into a world of negativity, removing their focus. Get up every day being totally okay with the fact that you aren't in "the know". Let everyone else hang out down there... you don't need it. You are completely fulfilled and have a happy life without that junk. It's actually really rewarding to be the fun one. Try it, I think you will fit perfectly there. :)
As we embark on the next journey, I can't help but think that I only have six years left. Six more school shopping excursions. Six more first days of school (for me, anyway). I'm so proud and sad all at the same time.
Maybe he really will let me go to college with him?